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Russia tests new secret missile

Russia successfully tested a secret missile that can penetrate NATO's missile defense shield, said the defense ministry.

Russia tests secret missile nato shieldEnlarge
A column of Russia's Topol intercontinental ballistic missile launchers rolls during a rehearsal of the Victory Day Parade in Alabino, outside Moscow, on April 18, 2012. Russia tested a secret missile on May 23, 2012, capable of penetrating NATO's European defense shield, according to Russian military sources. (KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)

Russia successfully tested a secret missile that could penetrate NATO's European missile defense shield on Wednesday, said defense ministry officials, according to the BBC.

The missile carried a dummy warhead 3,730 miles in its second test, after having failed in September.

The test of the intercontinental ballistic missile, which has no name yet, came just days after NATO said its shield system had reached "interim operational capability," reported the BBC.

"The dummy warhead reached its target area at the Kura test range on the Kamchatka Peninsula. The set goals of the launch were reached," said Vadim Koval, spokesman for Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces, according to Agence France Presse.

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According to The New York Times, Russian generals said the rocket uses a new type of fuel, which shortens its launch time making it more capable of evading intercepting missiles.

Russian news agency Interfax said the weapon is also equipped with individual warheads that can change course to avoid being shot down, according to AFP.

General Viktor Yesin, a retired rocket forces commander, said, "This is one of the technical means Russia’s political and military leadership designed to answer America’s global system of missile defense," according to The Times.

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The Times noted that Russian officials have threatened to build up missiles within the limits of existing arms control treaties if the United States put up a defense shield with missile interceptors in Europe.

NATO insists that the shield is meant to protect from missiles launched by rogue states, such as Iran, but Russia says the shield tips the military balance in the region, according to the BBC.

Russia also fears that its Cold War-era arsenal of nearly 2,000 nuclear warheads will be obsolete by the time the NATO shield becomes fully operational in 2018, noted AFP.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/russia/120523/russia-tests-new-secret-missile